Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The birth story of an Angel

It was May 22, 2009. I was awaken early by a phone call from Van, saying their coming home (finally) today and I need to pick him up at noon, I looked at the clock, OMG!!! it's 8am. The house was a bit of a mess, Vashon's toys everywhere. I get up rush to clean up shower and shave I hadn't seen my husband in 23 days. Our Memorial day weekend was already planned to go to Tulsa to spend with his side of the family at the lake, kind of our way of having one more weekend of normal life before our world was turned upside down. The delay in Van getting home and our to do list, gave us a lil time at home, no time to pack, and few mins to take a nap. We wake up and remember that we needed to change our cell phone service from sprint to AT&T, so we head over to the AT&T store. It was 5:40pm when I casually text my mom saying "I may be having minor contractions, hope your bags are packed". Thinking in my mind they were nothing but braxton hicks. I never experienced them with Vashon, so I really wasn't sure. In fact I insisted I had gas for about 20 min, not gonna lie I did eat Mexican food that day, lol.

By 6:30 pm the contractions, were about 3-4 min apart, and I was in a lot of pain. Still I insisted they were braxton hicks and if I went in to be checked I would only be about 2 cm dilated. I asked Van to take me home, so I could take a warm bath then lay down for an hour. That didn't work out to well as the pain became stronger and closer and Van over ruled and said we're going to the hospital. I still felt they were going to keep me for a lil while stop labor and what not so we didn't pack, not to mention Van was so freaked out by my intense screams he could no longer bare to see me in such pain.

At 7:20 pm we're in OB triage and I'm told that I'm already 8cm dilated. WOW!!!! I broke down crying, looked at the nurse and said I have 7 nails, my hair is nappy and my eyebrows look like chubaca. They unlocked my bed and started rolling it Labor and Delivery, that is when I realized that I didn't even know I was dilated, and I clearly labor fast. Then it hit me. I have nothing for Vayden. I cried and cried, how could I have done so much to remember my son while I carried him and nothing on the day I finally would meet him? I asked for my epidural ASAP!!! and got it. Then started to calm down, I was going to figure something out.
I asked Van to call Carrie from NILMDTS, I asked for my purse thank God my camera was in there and had a decent charge. I then got my phone knowing I could have maybe an hour or two, I was going to refuse to be checked for as long as I could. This baby wasn't coming out until he forced himself out. I was not planning to help. lol.
I called my friend Sara who I knew lived not to far from the hospital. I asked if she could please go to wal mart and get a preemie baby outfit a blanket and a cap. She was honored to do it and was there quickly she even remembered to pick up some socks for Vayden. I thank her so very much for how helpful she was. I still wanted my care packages, so I called my friend Morgan who lives off base but has access to get on. She had to come to the hospital to get our house key , then to our house and back to the hospital. She didn't think twice about coming and did it quickly. Carrie from NILMDTS had no photographers in town, she said that she would come out to be with us. Carrie just went through a round of chemo that week I knew she probably wasn't feeling great, but she found the strength to come be with us. Truly 3 wonderful walking angels.

Once everyone was there, my midwife (who was not on call but came up to be with me) told me I was ready and I could start pushing. With my midwife, two nurse and Van by my side I started pushing. Carrie stayed quiet in the back round taking photo and my MIL walked in about 5 min before his head was out. Midnight Vayden James Stewart was born 4 lbs 15 oz & 17 3/4" long. Only one ounce bigger than his brother Vashon, but looking just like he did when he was born. I fell in love all over again. Vayden let out a cry it was a bit of a struggling sound, but we were told he may not even be able to cry. They left him on my chest for a lil while until the placental expelled, so that we could hear him cry and coo more. He opened his eyes and looked into the eyes of both me and my husband. Van's attachment hit instantly, he was overwhelmed with joy and sadness, because he knew Vayden was fighting for his life. I however only felt utter and complete joy. I was so happy he made it through labor and a vaginal delivery.

After a few mins with him I wanted to know more about his condition, he just looked too perfect, to be sick, although we could hear his weak cry and see his struggle to breathe he was just so perfect. Van cut the cord and we let him go to the other side of the room to receive a quick assessment. Everyone in the room politely stayed out of my way so that I could still see him. They checked him and said his heart was great but his breathing was bad, I asked for him to come back to my arms, but requested that daddy bring him to me. The NICU Dr's said he could be with us for about 30-60 min without breathing support.

We took that time to love on Vayden, I sang "you are my sunshine" and "happy birthday" my husband sang the Air Force song, he always sang to Vashon to get him to calm down. We cried and gave thanks to God at the same time. Two hours later with no breathing support Vayden was still with us. We called for the NICU to come down, we were considering having him taken up there to get a better assessment. They came down with a machine to check Vayden's lungs and oxygen levels, she sat with us and told us that his lungs were very underdeveloped and he was not getting proper oxygen. She then paused with tears in her eyes, said we can take him upstairs but that will not save him just prolong this. We agreed with our initial choice to show him nothing but love, we said thank you and she left us with our baby. Thirty min later that same NICU Dr. came to our room and said she felt she didn't tell us enough. While holding Vayden in my arms she said, "you guys are doing the right thing", tears came to her eyes as she said we are in her prayers.

Right before he passed away we had him baptized and Van, myself and his paternal grandmother told him "it's ok to go home to be with Jesus" Vayden fooled us for a while as he would get very quiet, we thought he had gone and then he would let out a coo cry or open his eyes. One last kiss on his cheek I said "it's ok baby, you can go, I love you".

Vayden James Stewart died in my arms at 3:45am. We held him and cried. I got up to use the restroom and broke down as I had to change my blood stained hospital gown. I begged the nurse to please let me keep it. She said it was fine. I pulled myself together walked over to my son and changed him into a different outfit from what his father put him in earlier. It was not hard at all as I smiled and handled Vayden gently.

We made foot prints on everything, the hospital did a 3D mold of his hands and feet, we took over 300+ pictures. Then me and Van laid in bed with our son and fell asleep.

I'm so proud of Vayden he fought a good fight and changed my world along with many others. Although short, what a meaningful life. Something we all strive for, something my son did. He is in Heaven now watching over mommy, daddy, and brother Vashon.

We give thanks to God for giving us a life changing 3 hrs and 45 min with our son.
- For every comment, text message, email and phone call thank you. I do read them all and I do appreciate every single one of them. Thank you so very much


  1. you and your beautiful family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. Oh Stephanie thank you for sharing! I was so surprised to hear that you delivered Vayden b/c I was not expecting it yet and I'm sure you weren't either. I immediately said a prayer for you and your family. I am so, so glad you got that precious time with him and all the keepsakes that you did. Sounds like you got lots of pics too! These are things you will always cherish. My heart was going up and down with your birth story as I recalled how I felt with Carleigh. You are such a wonderful Mommy and woman!!

  3. Stephanee,

    You told Vayden's story so beautifully! He was so blessed to have such a good mommy and daddy who loved him so much! Though his time was short I am sure his impact will live on forever!

  4. What a wonderful story and testimony of love and trusting God's will. I'm thrilled to "know" you, and I'm thankful I've been able to be a part of Vayden's journey. Hugs to you!

  5. I am visiting from April Rose's blog, and just wanted to let you know you and your beautiful family are in my prayers.

  6. Thank you for sharing your beautiful birth story. Vayden is lucky to have you guys as parents & how great that he got to experience so much love during his short presence here on earth.

  7. Thank you for sharing this stiry and all of the photos. God Bless you and your family.

  8. What a beautiful son. I am so moved by your blog, I just recently found it from his will wedensdays. I pray that God will wrap his loving arms around you and your entire family.

    Remember you are not walking this journey alone.


  9. Stephanee, Van and Vashon, I am so sorry for your loss and although I cannot imagine what you are going through I know you have each other and the love and strength you need to get through this difficult time will come from your family. The pictures are so wonderful and Vayden looked so adorable in his uniform! As I said on bf, I am a better person for "knowing" you. Hugs, prayers and my thoughts are with you all. XO Lanie

  10. Beautiful birth story, how amazing you moved so fast. I'm happy to hear you all were able to be there and spend those nearly 4 hours with him.
    I felt the need to share your blog, you are such an amazinly strong mommy. Both boys are lucky to call you mom, weather here or in Heaven!!

  11. You are an amazing, inspirational woman. I'm so glad I found you (via "If Laura Petrie Married General Patton"). You've brightened my life and reinforced both my faith in God and in humanity.

    Thank you.

  12. Stewarts,

    I never cry, not ever. But this truely hit close to home, and I wish you and your family the best. Your sons are both beautiful! And all the family portraits were well taken. I will continue to keep you guys in my prayers. God Bless.


    You both are amazing people. :)

    -Amanda Manino

  13. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. The love you have for Vayden has been felt through your words and all you have done for him. People may say he blessed your family, but in all that I have read, YOU blessed HIM with a lifetime of love and happiness. Vayden is truely an angel and will always be with you.
    - Beth H.

  14. I'm so sorry for your tremendous loss...but what a blessing to spend all those hours with your beautiful son.

    You're obviously an amazingly strong woman and Vayden was lucky to have you as his mommy.

    I found you via Tricia's journal. I'm really looking forward to getting to know you and your family better.

    Much love,

  15. Stephanee
    that is the most beautiful and moving birth story I have ever read, thank you so much for sharing. You both allowed God to do His will and you were blessed by enjoying those hours with Vayden. And oh my, Vayden is such a gorgeous beautiful looking baby - He is so perfect.
    You are heading into a difficult phase of life and I wish you much strength in this time. May God wrap his huge arms around you and carry you every minute of the next days, weeks and months.
    My heart is with you

  16. Stephanie,
    Ever since I became of aware of your story I have been praying for you and Vayden. There isn't a day that goes by I don't think of you and stop to pray. Your baby is a beautiful gift. Please know that I will always pray for you and your family.

  17. I have tears in my eyes as I type this. My heart breaks for you, but also rejoices in knowing that your precious baby is in Heaven with God. He is no longer in pain. Vashon and Vayden are lucky to have such a strong and amazing woman as thier mother! You and your family are in my prayers!

  18. What a beautiful story. It's so wonderful that Vayden knew only love. My thought are with you and your family.


  19. I will continue to pray for you & your family. Thank you for sharing your story. You are beautiful inside and out.


  20. You are such a strong woman; you, Van, Vayden & Vashon have gone through so much. What an amazing journey, thank you for sharing it with us, it truly makes you think about life and the power of God. I think about you alot. Its beautiful to know you got to spend memorable hours with Vayden, he is your guardian angel/sunshine. xoxo! Nadine & Caitlyn "BF: Harley4211"

  21. I am happy that you got to look into his eyes and that you were able to make such sweet memories with him.

  22. Stephanee,

    My heart aches for you. I wish I could have been there for you, friend. I am so incredibly proud to know you. You are a strong woman, an amazing mother and wife. I am so glad you got to meet Vayden and bond so strongly with him during his short time on earth. I am sending all my love and heartfelt prayers as you remember your strong little boy. You and your family are incredible, Stephanee. I can see you have touched so many people with your story. I am one of them.


  23. My heart is broken right open for you!!! Nothing but painful tears are streaming down my face! I saw him and felt him through your words. I'm praying for you right now friend!

  24. Oh...your Vayden is so beautiful that he takes my breath away! I especially love the picture of him in uniform...precious. That's the one that really touched my heart. They all did...but that one is special. Thank you so much for sharing Vayden's amazing story with are beautiful...and so is your family! I hope you received your Dreams of You Package. Please know that we are praying God's continued comfort and sufficient grace for all of you as He carries you...

    Much Love,

  25. hi i just read your story . i wanna say im sorry and you and your family are very brave and strong. i dont know what to say i read it and cryed and just felt like i knew you . im so sorry and i hope you guys are doing good . and i will always remember your story and vayden. you have touched my heart

  26. I am so very touvhed by your story and your unwavering strength and faith.
    You have my sincerest condolences and also my prayers.
    Be blessed.

  27. This particular posting reminded me of a Bible verse that I put included on a slideshow that I made of my uncle when he passed away on New Year's Eve:

    2 Timothy 4:7
    I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
    Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

    I will pray for you and your family. May God bless and keep you always...

  28. Your story truly touched my heart. I read your story crying my eyes out. I am currently 15 weeks pregnant with my second baby. My first died when I was 6 weeks pregnant. Losing a child is never easy. You are a strong woman. I can't imagine meeting my child knowing that I wouldn't be able to have more than a day with him. You and your family are in my prayers. It comforts me to know that our baby's are up in Heaven together.


  29. Your site is absolutely beautiful. I love your gorgeous pictures. You have great strength. My son was still-born at 34 weeks & they never found a reason. I am so glad for you that you were able to see your son alive even if it was only for 3 hours &45 minutes. You have many memories that you will treasure forever.